NEWS

Larsson feels ready, Brodeur to start Friday

Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 2:54 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Larsson feels ready, Brodeur to start Friday



 
Adam Larsson hopes to be in the lineup Friday when the Devils face another tough test against the Vancouver Canucks.

Larsson has been sidelined with a bruised lower back since Feb. 2, when he took a hard hit from Montreal's P.K. Subban. Excited to be back with the team, Larsson was paired with Bryce Salvador at Thursday's practice.

"Today it feels great," Larsson said. "I've been skating now for four days, and it feels pretty good now the last three days. I'm very glad to be back now."

The rookie's recovery took longer than he'd expected.

"It didn't heal the way I thought it would, so it was pretty frustrating," he said. "It took a long time. Now, the last week has been better every day, so I'm glad."

Larsson thought his collision with the boards did more damage than the hit itself.

"I knew he was a great hitter, but I didn't know he was that good," Larsson said. "I saw him and I knew he was there, but he was so fast I couldn't really move from there."

He added: "There's no hard feelings or anything. It was a good hit. If I could've done that, I would've."

Despite missing the last nine games, Larsson still leads Devils defensemen with 16 points (2g-14a). His return would strengthen a blue line that has had to overcome key injuries all season.

"We're getting some bodies back and we're going to have some tough decisions to make," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "That's the spot you want to be in."

Like Larsson, Ryan Carter (hand) has also missed nine games and returned to practice on Thursday. He skated at left wing on a line with Jacob Josefson and Nick Palmieri.

Defenseman Kurtis Foster (upper body) has missed the last two contests, but reported feeling better after practice.

"We're going to meet with the trainers after they get their treatments and see how everybody feels and make some decisions tonight," DeBoer said.

The red-hot Devils (35-20-4, 74 pts.) have won four in a row and nine of their last 11. The Canucks (38-16-6, 82 pts.) are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and are second in points to League-leading Detroit.

Vancouver was set to visit the Red Wings in Detroit on Thursday. The Wings entered the meeting having won an NHL-record 23 straight on home ice.

Martin Brodeur will start Friday to open a tough stretch of three games in four days. Tampa Bay visits on Sunday; the Devils head to MSG to face the Rangers on Monday.

"For sure, this is a great test for us this weekend," DeBoer said. "You've got Vancouver and the Rangers – two of the top three teams in the League coming up – and Tampa sandwiched in between, which has been one of the hotter teams in the League." 

Since the All-Star break, the Devils have fared well in games billed as measuring sticks. They've topped the Rangers twice, and posted wins against hot clubs like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Anaheim.

"You're always wary," DeBoer said. "We haven't seen a team like Vancouver in a long time. This team is four lines deep, six defensemen deep, some of the best goaltending in the League. They can make you pay in a lot of different ways. It's going to be real interesting in how we handle that."

Thursday's lines:
Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk
Sykora-Elias-Clarkson
Ponikarovsky-Zubrus-Bernier
Carter-Josefson-Palmieri

Salvador-Larsson
Volchenkov-Fayne
Greene-Fayne
Taormina, Harrold

Brodeur
Hedberg


SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 69 16 24 -3 40
M. Cammalleri 62 25 13 3 38
P. Elias 63 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 52 7 24 -7 31
S. Bernier 61 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 68 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 58 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 76 3 18 3 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 56 6 11 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47